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Old 10-31-2008, 04:49 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Limited Visibility View Post
I have the same question as schweaty. I usually steep in my 2.5 gallons, but I will try with the 3 quarts next time. After steeping to I go ahead and top off my boil so its 2.5 gallons?
Although I have not yet brewed my first batch, I can answer this with a bit of theory:

If you use the smaller amount of water to avoid extracting tannins with the normal amount of grain, you will get exactly what you want. The idea here is that if you used too much water, you would be extracting too much from the grains, and therefore getting the tannins, but with the lesser amount of water you will extract what you want without over-extracting.

Main reference: Good Eats episode "True Brew", season 2 ep. 7

In this episode, Alton describes how people have a tendency to say that they don't like strong coffee, but in reality they don't like *bitter* coffee. So they cut back on the coffee grains they use, and the coffee turns out more bitter because the smaller amount of coffee is being over-extracted.

I would assume the same problem is happening with specialty grains in beer brewing...
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:33 PM   #22
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Main reference: Good Eats episode
Although not about beer, in the True Brew 2: Mr. Tea episode, he also talks a lot about different teas needing different volumes, temps and period of steeping in order to get the best flavor. Seems logical that the same could be true about grains.


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Old 10-31-2008, 06:41 PM   #23
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While the information in this thread so far makes sense, and I'll probably adjust my process accordingly, it seems odd to me that there are many on HBT (who I would consider quite knowledgeable) that do not think volume makes a difference when steeping.

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:40 AM   #24
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When steeping specialty grains does anyone squeeze out all the remaining moisture from the steeping bag after the bag has cooled down enough to touch? I took my hands and squeezed out a bunch of gooey caramel looking stuff adding it to my boil. I wonder if I squeezed out some unwanted flavors in the process? I guess I will find out in about 4 more weeks. It is a pale ale that will be in primary 10 days, secondary 14 days, then bottle condition for 2 or 3 weeks. This will be only my 3rd batch of beer. My first 2 were spectacular.

I followed John Palmer's guide and used approximately the ratio of 3qt H20 per lb of grain .

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Old 11-01-2008, 03:24 AM   #25
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I've heard to squeeze, and I've heard not to squeeze. I don't really know. What I have been doing is putting the grain bag in a large bowl, with a small glass or something in it to elevate the bag.

This lets the juice drain out from the bag without squeezing. Let it sit for a while, the add the drained off liquid to the brew pot.

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Old 11-01-2008, 04:07 PM   #26
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I steep the grains in what the recipe calls for and then I pour through some 170 degree water. I then add all the water for a full boil. As long as your pot is big enough ( I have a 12 Gallon pot). I've always heard full boils are better for hop extraction and it really made a big difference in my beers.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:31 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shohog View Post
When steeping specialty grains does anyone squeeze out all the remaining moisture from the steeping bag after the bag has cooled down enough to touch? I took my hands and squeezed out a bunch of gooey caramel looking stuff adding it to my boil. I wonder if I squeezed out some unwanted flavors in the process? I guess I will find out in about 4 more weeks. It is a pale ale that will be in primary 10 days, secondary 14 days, then bottle condition for 2 or 3 weeks. This will be only my 3rd batch of beer. My first 2 were spectacular.

I followed John Palmer's guide and used approximately the ratio of 3qt H20 per lb of grain .
I have always squeezed the grain bag to get the extra moisture out. I think as long as you don't crest 170F threshold, you will not get off flavors from your steeping grain. Above that and you risk extracting tannins. Squeeze away, I say.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:46 AM   #28
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No to squeezing. None of the popular How-To books say to do it plus here are 2 threads from resident experts that say not to do it as well.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/steeping-question-80718/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-should-i-steep-these-ingredients-56816/

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Old 11-03-2008, 11:02 PM   #29
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John Palmer says specifically to squeeze the grain bag after steeping.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Example Batch

Quote:
Remove the grain bag from the pot, giving it a squeeze to drain the excess wort and avoid dripping on the stove.


I ended up with the astringency at two weeks in the bottle but not from the squeezing. My first kit said to boil water then remove from heat and add grains. Didn't tell me to watch the temperature. However the bottle i just tried at three weeks had almost completely mellowed.

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:58 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shohog View Post
When steeping specialty grains does anyone squeeze out all the remaining moisture from the steeping bag after the bag has cooled down enough to touch?
I hold my grain bag out of the wort until most of the water naturally drains out. Then I put the grains in a bowl (still in the bag) and go about my boil while the last bit of "drippings" seep out of the bag and into the bowl. After 15-20 mins or so (or whenever I have enough) I add whatever little bit I get from the bowl to the boil and start my countdown for hop additions from there...

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